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6 months ago
Admissions Advice

I started really doing AP late
Answered

Hey, I am a rising senior and I wanted to talk about my situation with AP classes. I did my first AP class in 10th grade (Human Geo) and I did another one in 11th grade (AP Lang). Most of my other classes are honors except for electives (3 in 10th, 2 in 11th). I always heard how difficult AP classes are and I never took more than one per year. I did human geo and that class was quite easy but when I heard that human geo is just an easy class and that other AP classes are harder I still didn't want to do more than one per year. It was after AP Lang that I felt more comfortable doing AP classes. Now in the coming 12th grade, I decided to do AP Calc BC, and AP Physics 1 (I did honors physics and my school sadly doesn't offer physics C. I am trying to do engineering and I know Physics C is crucial for engineering so please someone tell me if colleges will understand if my school just doesn't offer it), AP Lit, AP comp sci A, and AP Gov (had to do honors economics because my schedule would have some conflict between classes if I did AP Macro but I signed up for AP macro). Am I doing most of my AP classes too late? I never got an AP scholar award because I never did more than 1 AP exam per year and I feel like I am at a disadvantage because I don't have AP scholar while other students do. I also don't know if colleges will think I'm some loser who avoided AP classes until the last year or something. I am just really worried about how I'll be affected by my decision to do more AP classes in my final year of High school.

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Let’s welcome @bakri to the community! Remember to be kind, helpful, and supportive in your responses.
@emily_w6 months ago

Let me know how it works out because I have a similar struggle. I only signed up for my first AP this year (11th) and I'm worried too.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@bakri6 months ago

Yeah, no problem I'll definitely let you know 👍

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Accepted Answer
6 months ago

First of all, no one is a loser. Second of all beating yourself up about your past performance or choices is a complete waste of time and effort. Do not do that nor should you have regrets about your past decisions. Instead, learn from your experience and mistakes and everything will be okay.

While you risk averse stance about APs did you no favors, and probably took you out of the running for Top 10 schools keep in mind that there are over 4,000 colleges in America and the majority of them do not have some arbitrary cutoff on how many APs or IBs you need to take to gain admission.

Ideally, if everyone had the same running start and information they would know that loading up on APs or IBs starting in 11th grade with 4-6 is the preferred way to attack course rigor. Why? Top colleges need to know that you are challenging yourself with the hardest classes, getting excellent grades, signing up, and getting top marks on the AP or IB tests prior to applying to their schools. Logistically if you only load up on APs or IBs during 12th grade, only the 1st semester of grades, if that (doesn't apply to those applying ED/EA) will be available. And the AP/IB test results do not come out until the summer after graduation which is too late because all college decisions are rendered and completed by then.

So anyone who is in 9th or 10th grade reading this must know that you can't hesitate or put off your course rigor until 12th grade. You start slowly in 9th and 10th and take your 4-6 in 11th grade, and keep the pedal on the gas during 12th and take another 4-6 senior year as well. Ideally, you want to show between 8-12 APs or gain the IB diploma prior to applying to colleges.

For the OP I would keep doing what you are doing and try to get the very best grades you can during 1st semester. I do not recommend applying anywhere Early Decision or Early Action because you only have 2 APs on your transcript. It would be better to apply RD and take advantage of the extra time you have to make sure you are getting those good grades in your APs so you can show some upward trend in both your GPA and course rigor on your college application.

Best of Luck.

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